The Common Mind: Politics, Society and Christian Humanism from Thomas More to Russell Kirk.

Author:Foster, Luke
Position:BRIEFLY NOTED - Book review
 
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The Common Mind: Politics, Society and Christian Humanism from Thomas More to Russell Kirk BY ANDRE GUSHURST-MOORE ANGELICO, 264 PAGES, $24.95

An ambitious attempt to survey five hundred years of Christian cultural criticism, The Common Mind traces the efforts of twelve Britons and Americans to carry Christendom's vision of an integrated society forward into modernity. Andre Gushurst-Moore, who teaches English at Downside School in England, quotes some of the greatest English-speaking men of letters to evoke the sense of loss afflicting the West as modernist dogma has disintegrated into the babel of postmodernity. His luminaries--from More, Swift, and Johnson to Chesterton, Eliot, and Lewis--exemplified Christian humanism, concerning themselves with both man's transcendent end and his earthly good.

Gushurst-Moore portrays this tradition as founded on Chesterton's notion of "the common mind," an intuitive sanity about the human person and the common good known through the natural law. Warning that elites are prone to fixate on one aspect of truth at the expense of the whole, he argues that the thinkers he highlights were humble enough to affirm the common mind and seek to pass on the cultural patrimony of the West. Christian humanism holds that "politics is a moral and essentially theological problem."

These common commitments among his chosen thinkers provide unifying themes for the diverse tradition he traces. Thomas More defended the truth of the common mind by subjecting the...

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